Shocking Photograph From 1913 Shows A Mongolian Woman Reaching Out From Her Crate Prison

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Shocking Photograph From 1913 Shows A Mongolian Woman Reaching Out From Her Crate Prison

A photograph taken by French photographer, Albert Kahn, in 1913 has recently been widely circulated online due to its dark, mysterious and disturbing nature.



One of the first photographers to have access to colour photography, Kahn, who was a millionaire banker, took the picture in 1913 while travelling through the Mongolian desert. The photograph was then first published as "Mongolian prisoner in a box" in the National Geographic magazine in 1922, 9 years after it was taken.


The accompanying magazine caption states that the woman was being punished for adultery and that she was expected to eventually die within the crate.


Mongolian prisoner in a box

Shocking Photograph From 1913 Shows A Mongolian Woman Reaching Out From Her Crate Prison

*The Dawn of the Color Photograph: Albert Kahn's Archives of the Planet


The bowls beneath the woman were filled with food and water and she was apparently permitted to ask passers by for handouts. While the Nat Geo caption did state the woman was condemned to die and that she was being punished for adultery some anthropologists have cast doubt upon this story.


While the fate of the woman is unclear, it is known that Kahn himself did not intervene.


Such horrendous methods of torture, whereby an individual is held inside an enclosed space, was not uncommon through history.


Known as immurement, a person could be held inside a box or even bricked up in a room until they eventually starved to death or suffocated. One particularly, though unconfirmed newspaper report from 1914 spoke of immurement being used in the far-East, saying:


"..the prisons and dungeons of the Far Eastern country contain a number of refined Chinese shut up for life in heavy iron-bound coffins, which do not permit them to sit upright or lie down. These prisoners see daylight for only a few minutes daily when the food is thrown into their coffins through a small hole".


Photographs such as this go to show the true horrors that human beings are capable of inflicting upon other human beings.

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Thinking Humanity: Shocking Photograph From 1913 Shows A Mongolian Woman Reaching Out From Her Crate Prison
Shocking Photograph From 1913 Shows A Mongolian Woman Reaching Out From Her Crate Prison
A photograph taken by French photographer, Albert Kahn, in 1913 has recently been widely circulated online due to its dark, mysterious and disturbing nature. One of the first photographers to have access to colour photography, Kahn, who was a millionaire banker, took the picture in 1913 while travelling through the Mongolian desert. The photograph was then first published as "Mongolian prisoner in a box" in the National Geographic magazine in 1922, 9 years after it was taken.
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